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Find out how to cook vegetables to retain nutrients and get maximum health benefits. As important as it is to eat your vegetables, you should also consider making good choices when it comes to the best cooking method to retain the vitamins and minerals in those vegetables.

Cooking methods to retain nutrients

Different vegetables require different cooking methods as well as cooking times, i.e. boiling, steaming, sautéing and baking. I’ll explain below how each is done, so that you know the right way when you start to implement those methods.

Boiling vegetables

Boil vegetables in a large pot (about 3 litres) with lots of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add veggies to the boiling water and boil for a required amount of time.

Steaming vegetables

A great method to retain as many nutrients as possible is steaming. To steam vegetables, fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 5cm (2 inches) of water. Wait for the water to come to a rapid boil before adding vegetables (into the steamer basket) and steam for a required amount of time.

Sautéing vegetables

To sauté vegetables, heat 5 tablespoons of broth or water in a stainless steel skillet or pot. Once bubbles begin to form add the veggies, cover, and sauté for as long as necessary.

Baking or roasting vegetables

As you will notice, I won’t recommend baking or roasting vegetables (with a few exceptions). It’s because of the high temperatures that would destroy most of vitamins and minerals as well as increased glycemic load, especially true when it comes to starchy vegetables.

However, when you do bake vegetables, use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat and NO oil (not even olive oil). Instead, make a good use of herbs and spices if you’re afraid that your veggies lack of flavour. Believe me, your veggies will be delicious in their own juices!

Even if baking is not the best way to retain nutrients, you still can enjoy the yumminess! The trick is to eat the same veggie in different states to get the most benefits – raw, steamed or sautéed and baked.

How to Cook Vegetables to Retain Nutrients and Maximise Health Benefits

Find out how to cook some of my favourite and most common vegetables to retain nutrients and maximise health benefits as well as flavour.

How to Cook Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens to Retain Nutrients

Beet Greens
  • Boil beet greens for 1 minute to free up acids (including oxalic acid) and allow them to leach into the boiling water. It also brings out a sweeter taste from the beet greens.
  • If you are cooking larger quantities (more than 1 pound, 450 grams), bring the water back to a boil before beginning timing the minute. Do not cover the pot when cooking beet greens. Leaving the pot uncovered helps to release more of the acids.
  • Discard the boiling water after cooking. Do not drink it or use it for stock because of its acid content.
Bok Choy

Chop the leaves into 0.3cm (⅛-inch) slices and the stems into 1.3cm (½-inch) lengths for even cooking. The healthiest way to cook bok choy is to sauté it. Add the stems on the bottom of the pan and the leaves on top, cover, and sauté for 3 minutes.

Broccoli

For maximum health benefits, eat broccoli raw and steamed. Steam broccoli stems for 2 minutes before adding the florets and leaves. Steam for 4 more minutes.

Brussels Sprouts

Again, steaming is the best option for Brussels sprouts as well. If Brussels sprouts are cut into quarters, steam for 6 minutes. If you have chopped them into smaller pieces, steam for 5 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts to Buddha bowl.

Cabbage
  • Eat cabbage raw, fermented and sautéed.
  • Slicing cabbage very thin before cooking and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes helps bring out their hidden flavours and makes them more enjoyable.
  • Sauté shredded cabbage for 5 minutes.
  • Finally, several studies indicate that raw cabbage can offer greater amounts of certain nutrients than either cooked or fermented cabbage. In one study, the incorporation of fresh, uncooked, chopped red cabbage was recommended as an optimal way to derive nutritional benefits from this cruciferous vegetable.
Cauliflower

It is recommended to eat cauliflower raw and sautéed. To sauté cauliflower begin by cutting the florets into quarters and let sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance its health-promoting benefits. Then, sauté cauliflower for 5 minutes.

Collard Greens

Steaming for 5 minutes is the best way to cook collard greens. This way you also maximise their flavour.

Kale

Again, steaming for 5 minutes is the best option also for kale. Chop leaves into 1.3cm (½”) slices and the stems into 0.6cm (¼”) lengths for even cooking.

Mustard Greens

When it comes to mustard greens, sautéing for 5 minutes is the best to retain nutrients. Rinse mustard greens under cold running water and cut into 1.3cm (½”) slices for even cooking.

Spinach

Boil spinach for 1 minute to free up acids and allow them to leach into the boiling water. Discard the boiling water after cooking and do not drink it or use it for stock because of its acid content. Remove spinach from pot, press out liquid with a fork.

Spinach should be washed very well since the leaves and stems tend to collect sand and soil. Make my yummy Spinach Dip.

Swiss Chard
  • Boil to free up acids and allowing them to leach into the boiling water. Discard the boiling water after cooking.
  • If stems are more than 2.5cm (1-inch) wide, cook them for 2 minutes before adding the leaves. If the stems are smaller than that, boil the leaves and stems together for 3 minutes.
  • If you are cooking large quantities of chard (more than 1 pound, 450 grams), bring the water back to a boil before beginning timing the 3 minutes.
  • Do not cover the pot when cooking chard. Leaving the pot uncovered helps to release more of the acids with the rising steam.
Turnip Greens

Steaming for 5 minutes is the best way to cook turnip greens to retain the nutrients. Chop greens into 0.3cm (⅛-inch) slices for even cooking.

Important note about cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli, cauliflower, kale, pak choi, arugula, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, turnips) also have amazing anti-cancer and estrogen-blocking properties. Their distinctive sulphur smell comes from a compound that kills cancer cells in their tracks, so this is a class of vegetables that should be on everyone’s plate.

Aim for a generous 2½-cup serving each day. Because some of their beneficial phytochemicals are more available when they’re cooked, and others when they’re eaten raw, eat a variety, and mix up how you prepare them too.

How to Cook Other Non-Starchy Vegetables to Retain Nutrients

Artichoke

Start by rinsing the artichokes. Next, shake them out in the sink and then pat dry. Now, using a sharp knife, chop off about ¾ inch off the crown of the artichoke. Next, cut off ¼ inch from the bottom of the stem and discard.

To steam, add enough water to a pot so that water reaches the bottom of the steamer basket. Place artichokes in the basket and steam for 30 minutes or until leaves are fork tender. Serve immediately.

Asparagus

The healthiest way to cook whole asparagus is to sauté it for 5 minutes. If you want to cut asparagus into small pieces, do it after they are cooked. Asparagus can be served hot or cold.

Bell Peppers

Eat bell peppers raw and sautéed. Sauté sliced bell peppers for 3 minutes on medium heat. After 3 minutes add 2 tbsps. of water and cook uncovered on low heat for another 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Celery

To clean celery, cut off the base and leaves, then wash the leaves and stalks under running water. Cut the stalks into pieces of desired length. If the outside of the celery stalk has fibrous strings, remove them by making a thin cut into one end of the stalk and peeling away the fibres. Be sure to use the leaves—they contain the most vitamin C, calcium, and potassium—but use them within a day or two, as they spoil easily.

Don’t keep celery at room temperature for more than several hours, because it would wilt too quickly. If you have celery that has wilted, sprinkle it with a little water and place it in the refrigerator for several hours to help it regain some of its crispness.

Use celery in Hearty Vegan Curry.

Eggplant

When cutting an eggplant, use a stainless steel knife as carbon steel will react with its phytonutrients and cause it to turn black.

To tenderise eggplant’s texture and reduce some of its naturally occurring bitter taste, you can sweat the eggplant by salting it. After cutting the eggplant into the desired size and shape, sprinkle it with Himalayan salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. This process will pull out some of its water content.

Rinsing the eggplant after “sweating” will remove most of the salt, if you prefer to minimize your sodium intake.

Eggplant can be baked, roasted in the oven, or steamed. If baking it whole, pierce the eggplant several times with a fork to make small holes for the steam to escape. Bake the eggplant at 175°C (350°F) for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size. You can test its readiness by gently inserting a knife or fork into it. The knife should pass through easily.

Fennel

The three different parts of fennel – the base, stalks and leaves – can all be used in cooking. Cut the stalks off the bulb at the place where they meet. If you are not going to be using the intact bulb in a recipe, then cut it in half, remove the base, and rinse with water before proceeding to cut it further. Fennel can be cut in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on the recipe and your personal preference. The best way to slice it is to do so vertically through the bulb. If your recipe requires chunked, diced or julienned fennel, it is best to first remove the harder core that resides in the centre before cutting it.

The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning.

Green Beans

Steam rinsed whole green beans for 7 minutes, checking the tenderness with knife. Before steaming remove both ends of the beans by either snapping them off or cutting them with a knife.

Leeks

Sauté cut leeks for 4 minutes. Then, add 2 more tablespoons of water or broth, reduce heat to medium low, and sauté for 3 more minutes uncovered while stirring frequently.

Mushrooms

Sauté them for at least one minute to destroy agaritine, a natural toxin found in mushrooms.

Onions

It is recommended to sauté sliced onions to retain the nutrients and enhance flavour. When water begins to steam, add onions and cover for 3 minutes. The onions will release a small amount of liquid. Then, uncover, add another 2 tbsps. of water, and continue to stir for 4 minutes, leaving the lid off.

Summer Squash

Sauté sliced summer squash in a stainless steel skillet for 3 minutes (1.5 minutes on one side, and then 1.5 minutes on the other side) on medium heat.

Tomatoes

When cooking tomatoes avoid aluminium cookware, because the high acid content of the tomatoes may interact with the metal in the cookware. As a result, there may be migration of aluminium into the food.

Try to use whole tomatoes whenever possible because research has been showing higher lycopene content in whole tomato products. For example, when the skins of tomatoes are included in the making of the tomato paste, the lycopene and beta-carotene content of the paste is significantly higher.

When making tomato paste, simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Tomato puree is awesome in my Vegan Lentil Stew.

How to Cook Starchy Vegetables to Retain Nutrients

Beets
  • Cut beets into quarters leaving 5cm (2 inches) of tap root and 2.5cm (1 inch) of stem on the beets. Cook beets lightly. Studies show beets’ concentration of phytonutrients, such as betalains, is diminished by heat.
  • It is recommended to steam beets for 15 minutes. Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork or the tip of a knife into it.
  • Beets’ colour can be modified during cooking. Adding an acidic medium such as lemon juice or vinegar will brighten the colour while an alkaline substance such as baking soda will often cause them to turn deeper purple. Salt will blunt beets’ colour, so add only at the end of cooking if needed.
Carrots
  • Carrots are best eaten raw and cooked.
  • The healthiest way to cook carrots is steaming. Slice carrots 0.6cm (¼-inch) thick and steam for 5 minutes.
  • Also, add a bit of fat (nuts, seeds, coconut milk) to your meal with carrots for the conversion of beta-carotene into a special micellar form.
Green Peas

Green peas can be enjoyed raw and sautéed. Sauté green peas for 3 minutes.

Potatoes

Potatoes should be cleaned and cut right before cooking in order to avoid the discoloration that occurs with exposure to air. If you cannot cook them immediately after cutting, place them in a bowl of cold water with a bit of lemon juice. This will prevent their flesh from darkening and will also help to maintain their shape during cooking.

As potatoes are also sensitive to certain metals that may cause them to discolour, avoid cooking them in iron or aluminium pots or using a carbon steel knife to cut them.

Definitely eat the skin if you have organic potatoes, as the skin is a good source of dietary fibre.

Sweet potatoes

Steam 1.3cm (½-inch) slices for 7 minutes. Also, add a bit of fat (nuts, seeds, coconut milk) to your meal with sweet potatoes for the conversion of beta-carotene into a special micellar form. If your sweet potatoes are organic, eat also the skin.

Winter squashes

Steam 2.5cm (1-inch) cubes of winter squash for about 7 minutes.

Important note about starchy vegetables and resistant starch

Cooked and cooled starchy veggies (especially potatoes and sweet potatoes) contain resistant starch. They can be reheated at low temperatures, less than 54°C (130°F) and maintain the benefits of resistant starch.

The benefits of resistant starch:

  • Increases satiety.
  • Reduces fasting blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Feeds “good” bacteria in your gut and may bind to and expel “bad” bacteria.
  • Contributes to metabolizing “dirty” estrogens.
  • Improves function of the gut.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sources:
http://whfoods.com/
https://pinklotus.com/powerup/breastcancer101/the-top-6-anti-estrogen-foods-for-breast-cancer-risk-reduction/
https://www.organicauthority.com/organic-food-recipes/how-to-cook-artichokes-3-easy-ways

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Here’s an absolutely delicious gluten-free plant-based dish for dinner tonight! Make a 30-minute hearty and creamy Indian flavoured vegan curry with chickpeas, potatoes and red beans.

I love this potato curry, because it’s easy to prepare and makes a perfect recipe for batch cooking. So, cook a double batch and you’re good to go for the next 3-4 days!

One of the reasons I love vegan curries so much is that I can come up with endless combinations of ingredients! Now, it may be intimidating to start cooking curry dishes if you’re new to it! However, if you follow some easy steps and give it some practice, you’ll forget your fear in no time. Read how to make a perfect vegan curry from Vegan Chickpea Curry with Tomatoes.

An easy vegan comfort food.

Needless to say, this vegan curry is a great recipe to start with, if you’re looking for an easy vegan meal, that doesn’t need expert cooking skills. You basically throw everything in a pot (following the order given in directions) and wait for this vegan curry to be ready. Moreover, it has all the comforting starches from chickpeas, red beans and potatoes as well as creaminess from coconut cream to make it a perfect comfort food.

I need to mention, that my coconut curry with chickpeas, beans and potatoes is one of those vegan recipes that you’ll keep coming back to! Because it’s just so easy to make and all the ingredients are readily available. Furthermore, my vegan curry is a total crowd pleaser! So, I’m sure you’ll easily win the hearts of your guests and/or family.

Hearty Vegan Curry with Chickpeas, Beans and Potatoes - YouTube

What makes this hearty vegan curry so great?
  • Gluten-free
  • Oil-free
  • Low-fat
  • Soy-free
  • Grain-free
  • Nut-free
  • Peanut-free
  • Candida diet friendly (except cleanse)

To sum it up, my vegan curry is a perfect comfort food, if you’re after a recipe that is:

  • ready in 30 minutes
  • easy to make
  • full of Indian flavours
  • perfect for batch-cooking

So, are you into hearty and comforting vegan curry? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to learn your favourite curry ingredients! Please also tag me in social media whenever you make and share my recipe. Instagram @thenutriplanet and Facebook @nutriplanet.health.hub

Hearty Vegan Curry with Chickpeas, Beans and Potato

Serves: 5 people
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 2 medium or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1.5 tsps. crushed cumin seeds
  • 1.5 tsps. crushed mustard seeds
  • 140g, 5oz (¾ + ⅛ cup) unsalted sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • 240g (8.5oz) unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 240g (8.5oz) unsalted red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsps. coconut cream (or cashew sour cream)
  • ¾ tsp. Himalayan salt (or less)
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Start by preparing the spices – toast cumin seeds (from 30 seconds to 1 minute until your nose just gets a whiff of smoke and fragrance) and mustard seeds (2-5 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned, removing from heat when the seeds start to pop) on a dry pan, let cool and crush using mortar and pestle. Or make a bigger batch and grind in a spice grinder.
  2. Next, heat up a few tablespoons of water in a skillet or large pan. After that, reduce heat; add onions and sauté them covered for 2-3 minutes stirring every now and then. Add water whenever necessary.
  3. Then, add the carrots, celery, potato cubes and turmeric; give everything a good stir and sauté on a medium heat until the veggies are tender, about 8 minutes. If you didn’t toast the spices, throw them (crushed) in along with turmeric. Again, add extra water if necessary.
  4. When the veggies are cooked, add chickpeas, beans and corn. If the stew is too dry, add a bit of water. Then, bring to boil and turn off the heat. For a more mushy result, take potato masher or fork and mash the stew until it has thickened to desired consistency.
  5. Finally, season with black pepper, Himalayan salt and fresh herbs like coriander, parsley and/or onion greens. Finish off with lemon juice or lime juice if you like to.

Nutritional info per serving (⅕ of recipe): 206 kcal, 36.8g carbohydrates (71.6% of kcal), 3.6g fat (16% of kcal), 9.4g protein (18% of kcal), 8.2g fibre, and 15 GL points.

For a complete balanced meal, add per serving:
  • 2-3 cups of chopped Romain lettuce or 2 cups of steamed leafy greens (kale, chard, pak choi, collard greens). Measure raw leafy greens.
  • ¼ cup cooked whole grain rice (brown, black, red or wild), millet, quinoa or buckwheat (max 3 level tablespoons, i.e. 45ml, if you’re struggling with blood sugar fluctuations) or whole grain pasta.

NB! All those struggling with Candida overgrowth and/or unstable blood sugar, eat only cooled legumes, potatoes, rice and other grains. It’s because those starches convert into resistant starches (a type of carbohydrate that our digestive enzymes cannot break down in the stomach or small intestine) once cooked and then cooled. Those foods can be reheated at low temperatures (less than 54°C, 130°F) and maintain the benefits of resistant starch.

However, heating at higher temperatures will convert the starch into a form that is digestible to us rather than “feeding” our gut bacteria.

Tips on my vegan curry recipe:
  • Any beans would work well in this stew – black beans, navy beans, pinto beans etc.
  • Next, you can easily use light coconut milk instead of coconut cream.
  • Use 1 tablespoon of my Indian Spice Mix instead of cumin and mustard seeds. Alternatively, replace turmeric, mustard and cumin seeds with ant preferred curry powder or garam masala mix.
  • Now, if you can’t have corn, replace it with fresh or frozen peas. You can also use frozen corn instead of canned version. Throw it in a few minutes before the curry is done.
  • Finally, feel free to sprinkle some cayenne pepper or chilli pepper on the finished dish, if you’re after spicy result.
How to store this vegan curry:
  • Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days.
  • For longer storage, divide the curry into smaller portions and store in freezer.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The post Hearty Vegan Curry [Oil-Free, Gluten-Free] appeared first on Nutriplanet.

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Unsweetened carob chips that are as delicious as chocolate chips, but without the adverse effects of cocoa. Just 2 ingredients, 1 bowl and 10 minutes of your time!

Should you be one of those people intolerant to cocoa, but still wish to enjoy your chocolate chip cookies, then homemade carob chips are for you! My carob chips use no sweeteners or adverse additives and don’t require any advanced cooking skills.

Furthermore, the same recipe can be used to make carob chocolate or carob bars to give you the possibility to enjoy that so-needed piece of chocolate in the afternoon!

My homemade carob chips are:

  • Easy-peasy to make
  • Require no advanced cooking skills
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Peanut-free
  • Candida diet friendly
  • Low glycemic
  • Sweetener-free
  • So versatile!

Unsweetened Carob Chips without Palm Oil - YouTube

The ingredients in my carob chips

Most recipes for carob chips use hydrogenated palm kernel oil or coconut oil. Now, the problem with carob chips made with coconut oil is that it’d not be possible to bake with them – they’d simply melt away! Of course, if you want to nibble on them raw, you might as well go for coconut oil, but it’s a definite no-no if you need the chips to stay intact when heated.

Palm oil is an entirely different issue! The palm oil industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations.[1] So, do you really want to support all that? Furthermore, while palm oil may have some health benefits, it may also increase certain heart disease risk factors.

Taking all that into consideration, I went for cacao butter, which contains only traces of caffeine and theobromine (more on that in post Carob: Benefits, Uses, Carob vs Cocoa).

Needless to say, the second ingredient in my carob chips recipe is carob.

All you need to make carob chips! What is carob?

Ceratonia siliqua, known as carob is a flowering evergreen tree in the pea family. It is widely cultivated for its edible pods, and as an ornamental tree in gardens and landscapes.

The ripe, dried, and sometimes toasted, carob pods are ground into carob powder, which can be used to replace cocoa powder.[2]

As carob is naturally sweet, the powder can be used as sweetener in baked goods, candies, and desserts.

Read more on carob from Carob: Benefits, Uses, Carob vs Cocoa:

  • Carob benefits
  • Uses of carob
  • How to use carob powder in cooking
  • Carob vs cocoa
  • Adverse effects of cocoa

Raw vs roasted carob powder

There are three varieties of carob powder (in terms of roasting):

  • Raw carob powder – either no heat or under 47.7°C (118°F), of a light brown colour. Raw carob is subtly sweet and not at all bitter with a pleasant almost caramel-like taste.
  • Light roasted carob – heated to about 93°C (200°F) and of a lighter-dark brown colour. This variety has the sweetest taste.
  • Dark-roasted carob – high heat roasted up to 204°C (400°F) and of dark brown colour. Resembles cocoa the most as it becomes a bit bitter of taste.

I personally have tasted only the roasted varieties and I can tell you, that the dark-roasted carob is really intense! So, I like to combine the two or use only the light roasted carob.

Make sure to read how to use carob chips or carob chocolate further below!

Finally, I’d love to hear what you think of carob chips – would you give them a try instead of chocolate chips made of cocoa? Let me know in the comments below!

Unsweetened Carob Chips

Yield: 100 grams
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour

Ingredients
  • 55g (1.9oz) cocoa butter
  • 45g (1.6oz) carob powder

Directions
  1. Start by melting cocoa butter in a double boiler (or in microwave).
  2. Then, whisk carob powder into the melted cocoa butter. You may use only light roasted carob or a blend with dark-roasted carob. I’d suggest adding not more than a tablespoon though as dark-roasted carob is quite intense.
  3. Next, pour the liquid mass into a small cake tin or bread loaf lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Finally, place the firmed carob chocolate onto chopping board and using a sharp knife, chop it into as small pieces as you like. Store in a glass jar in fridge.

Nutritional info per recipe (100g, 3.5oz): 607.6 kcal, 40g carbohydrates (26% of kcal), 55.3g fats (82% of kcal), 2.1g protein (1.4% of kcal), 17.9g fibre, 15.8mg sodium, and 13.5 GL points.

How to use carob chips and carob chocolate:

You can use carob chips anywhere you’d use chocolate chips:

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The post Unsweetened Carob Chips [No Palm Oil] appeared first on Nutriplanet.

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Read all about carob: what is carob, carob benefits, uses of carob, carob vs cocoa, what’s the difference between raw and roasted carob powder, and how to use carob powder for cooking.

What is carob?

Let’s start with describing the carob tree. Ceratonia siliqua, known as carob (from Arabic خَرُّوبٌ (kharrūb) and Hebrew חרוב (haruv)), St John’s bread, locust bean (not African locust bean), locust-tree, or carob bush is a flowering evergreen tree or shrub in the pea family. Its pods have been used for food for as long as 5,000 years. Carob is also used as an ornamental tree in gardens and landscapes.

The carob tree is native to the Mediterranean region, including Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the larger Mediterranean islands, the Levant and Middle-East of Western Asia into Iran, and the Canary Islands and Macaronesia in the Atlantic Ocean.

Uses of carob

It must be noted that carob tree is a very good asset in terms of its uses:

  • The ripe, dried, and sometimes toasted, carob pods are ground into carob powder, which can be used to replace cocoa powder.
  • As carob is naturally sweet, the powder can be used as sweetener in baked goods, candies, and desserts.
  • Also, the crushed pods may be used to make a beverage, a replacement to hot chocolate.
  • Since carob pods are about ⅓ to ½ sugar by weight, carob is also used for compote, liqueur, and syrup.
  • Next, a thickening agent used in the food industry, is the most important use of carob seeds economically. Locust bean gum or carob gum is used as a thickening agent and stabilizer, or as a substitute for gluten in low-calorie products. To make 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of locust bean gum, 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) of carob seeds are needed, which must come from roughly 30 kilograms (66 lb) of carob pod fruit.
  • Finally, it’s interesting to know that carob benefits are not limited to humans. As carob doesn’t contain theobromine or caffeine, it is also used to make chocolate-like treats for dogs.
Medicinal use of carob

As it turns out, carob is not only pretty or tasty, it also has healing powers. Let’s list some of those below!

  • Medicinally, carob is used for digestion problems including diarrhoea, heartburn, and the intestine’s inability to properly absorb certain nutrients from food.
  • Other uses of carob include treatment of obesity, vomiting during pregnancy, and high cholesterol.
  • Finally, in infants, carob is used for vomiting, retching cough, and diarrhoea.
Carob Benefits

Besides the above mentioned medicinal uses, carob also has many more health benefits you might want to be aware of:

  • Firstly, it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, like calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin K, riboflavin, and vitamin E.
  • Secondly, carob is low in fat (0%) and sodium (2.3mg per tablespoon).
  • Thirdly, it contains calcium (22.4mg per tablespoon), but no oxalates that would inhibit its absorption.
  • It’s noteworthy, that the fibre found in carob (2.6g per tablespoon) is somewhat special. More precisely, it inhibits the secretion of postprandial ghrelin, a hormone that tells the body that it is hungry, occasionally released after eating. This means that carob can reduce the chances of overeating, and therefore aid in weight loss attempts.
  • Next, carob improves digestion and helps to relieve diarrhoea thanks to its tannin content.
  • Carob is also a good source of antioxidants and therefore slows down ageing and reduces the risk of cancer.
  • It also boosts immune system and manages diabetes.
  • And finally, carob is gluten-free and caffeine-free. That’s good news for everyone who can’t tolerate gluten and/or caffeine.
Carob vs Cocoa

It might be that the difference between carob and cocoa is unclear to you. So, I give you the main distinctions:

  • Firstly, carob pods are naturally sweet, but cacao is bitter.
  • It’s important to note that cacao contains theobromine (toxic to dogs and cats in large quantities), tyramine (an amino acid that may trigger migraines) and caffeine, while carob does not. Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, irritability, upset stomach, fast heart rate, and muscle tremor.
  • While cacao is high in oxalates, carob has none.
  • Next, carob powder has three times as much calcium compared to cocoa powder.
  • Finally, cocoa is high in fat and carob has zero fat.
Adverse effects of cocoa

So, what’s the fuss about cocoa or cacao anyway? Why should you replace it in the first place?

Well, it’s because cacao and products containing cacao can be too stimulating for some people because of caffeine, theobromine and tyramine.

Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, the tea plant, yerba mate, guarana berry and the kola nut. It has an effect similar to, but lesser than, that of caffeine in the human nervous system. Theobromine widens blood vessels, promotes increased production of urine and stimulates heart. At doses of 0.8–1.5 g/day (50–100 g cocoa), sweating, trembling and severe headaches were noted.

Moving on, tyramine as well as caffeine, are both well-accepted migraine triggers. So, if you’re having headaches or migraines, you might want to think twice before reaching for another cup of coffee or piece of dark chocolate.

Raw vs roasted carob powder

It might be that you’ve come across very different carob powders, from light beige to dark brown. Well, that’s because there are three varieties of carob powder (in terms of roasting):

  • Raw carob powder – either no heat or under 47.7°C (118°F), of a light brown colour. Raw carob is subtly sweet and not at all bitter with a pleasant almost caramel-like taste.
  • Slightly roasted carob – heated to about 93°C (200°F) and is of a lighter-dark brown colour. This variety has the sweetest taste. It is often referred to as raw carob powder.
  • Dark-roasted carob – high heat roasted up to 204°C (400°F) and is of dark brown colour. Resembles cocoa the most as it becomes a bit bitter of taste.

I personally have tasted only the roasted varieties and I can tell you, that the dark-roasted carob is really intense! So, I like to combine the two or use only slightly roasted carob.

How to use carob powder in cooking

I bet you’re waiting to know how you can use carob powder in everyday cooking! Fortunately, it’s a very versatile powder that has many yummy uses:

  • Make carob pancakes, carob brownies, carob cookies, carob cakes and carob candies.
  • Use carob in any recipes that call for cocoa powder. However, you probably need to use less sweetener or none at all as carob is naturally sweet.
  • Add carob powder to smoothies, porridge or dessert bowls.
  • Make hot carob drink instead of hot chocolate – simply mix together plant milk and carob powder.
  • Whip up a delicious carob-avocado pudding or coconut cream-carob pudding.
  • Make carob bars (carob chocolate) and carob chips.

Unsweetened Carob Chips without Palm Oil - YouTube

I hope you enjoyed this article about carob benefits and uses! If you have some fascinating facts or info that was not covered, I’d appreciate if you let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratonia_siliqua
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobromine
https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/tyramine-and-migraines#1
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-321/carob
https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/136/6/1533/4664376
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/carob-powder#nutrition-facts
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-carob.html

The post Carob: Benefits, Uses, Carob vs Cocoa appeared first on Nutriplanet.

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Say goodbye to chickpea flour and try my vegan omelette made with sprouted chickpeas instead. I love this recipe because it’s moist, fluffy and has got texture. Moreover, sprouting improves the flavour and makes chickpeas easier to digest.

It was ages ago when I tried soaked and blended chickpeas for oven quiche, but somehow didn’t turn this experiment into a recipe. However, I was fascinated to see that my kid, who doesn’t like anything made of chickpea flour, absolutely loved the outcome. I tend to agree with my son – chickpea flour does taste a bit peculiar. I guess it’s because the flour is made of unsoaked chickpeas and has all those phytates, tannins and other anti-nutrients present. For your information, soaking (and sprouting) improves the flavour of legumes, grains, nuts and seeds drastically.

Why soaked and sprouted chickpeas instead of flour

I always soak my lentils, beans, grains, nuts and seeds before cooking/eating. Soaking and sprouting:

  • removes or reduces phytic acid and tannins,
  • neutralizes toxins in the colon as well as enzyme inhibitors,
  • encourages the production of beneficial enzymes,
  • makes the proteins more readily available, and
  • increases the amounts of vitamins, especially A, C and B vitamins.
All you need to make my vegan omelette!

Many omelette recipes use hard tofu or silken tofu as main ingredient, which is why my chickpea omelette is good news to everyone avoiding soy.

My vegan omelette recipe contains only wholesome ingredients:

  • Sprouted chickpeas as a base.
  • Chia seeds for binding.
  • Nutritional yeast for cheesy flavour.
  • Black salt (kala namak) for egg taste.
  • Turmeric for colour and health benefits.
  • Spices/herbs for enhanced flavours.

Vegan Omelette with Sprouted Chickpeas - YouTube

Now, I must be honest with you – I am not by any means trying to mimic egg omelette here! Instead, I created a super healthy and gut-friendly vegan breakfast (or snack, lunch, dinner) that resembles the good old omelette. I’d say it’s a win-win!

Moreover, plant-based ingredients never cease to amaze me! When you don’t like and/or can’t digest a certain food (for example chickpea flour), it’s enough to go back to the roots and think why that might be. Knowing a few essential facts about nutrition will give you the answer and you can simply prepare the food in a different and more beneficial manner.

To sum it up, my vegan omelette with sprouted chickpeas is:

  • Oil-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • Grain-free
  • Candida diet friendly
  • Low glycemic

Finally, I’d like to hear from you! Are you a vegan omelette fan? Have you come across an omelette made with sprouted chickpeas before? Anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Vegan Omelette with Sprouted Chickpeas

Makes: 4 omelettes (with 10 cm, 3.9 inch diameter)
Soaking time: 8-12 hours
Sprouting time: 12 hours
Prep time (the batter): 5 minutes
Prep time (frying): 40 minutes or cook time (baking): 25 minutes

Ingredients

Directions
  1. First, soak the chickpeas overnight or about 12 hours. Then, rinse/drain and leave in a sieve covered with clean cloth until visible sprouts emerge from the chickpeas (it’ll take about 12 hours). If possible, rinse the chickpeas several times daily. Get more details from my post How to Sprout Chickpeas.
  2. Next, add 1 cup of sprouted chickpeas along with all the other ingredients (except fresh parsley) into a blender or mixing beaker. Blend until you have homogeneous batter. Don’t worry though, it’s not supposed to be silky smooth.
  3. For frying: place 2 tablespoons (or one heaping tbsp.) of batter onto hot non-stick pan and pat it into a 10 cm (3.9 inch) circle (check the video).
  4. Once it’s cooked on top (it took 6 minutes on a gas stove with medium heat), flip the omelette over and fry for about 3 more minutes. Then, place the omelette on cooling rack or plate and repeat until the batter is finished.
  5. Swipe the pan clean with slightly oiled kitchen paper between the omelettes to prevent them sticking to the pan. You can use coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil.
  6. For baking: place all four omelettes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (divide the batter into four and ladle it onto baking sheet). Pat the omelettes into 10 cm (3.9 inch) circles using a spoon and bake at 175°C (350°F) for 25 minutes. Let cool before you try to separate them from the parchment paper.

Nutritional info per one omelette (¼ of the recipe): 96.8 kcal, 11.2g carbohydrates (62.5% of kcal), 2.03g fats (18.9% of kcal), 6.48g of protein (26.8% of kcal), 3.97g fibre, and 8mg sodium.

Tips on my vegan omelette recipe:
  • This recipe works very well with soaked chickpeas as well. So, if you’re in a hurry and can’t wait for the chickpeas to sprout, make the omelettes with soaked garbanzo beans instead.
  • Should you skip the sprouting, try quick soaking – boil the chickpeas for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let them soak for 1-2 hours at which point they’d be ready to use for this omelette recipe.
  • Use oregano/parsley for Mediterranean and the spice mix/coriander for Indian flavour. Feel free to sub turmeric and Indian spice mix with your favourite curry powder.
  • Definitely add kala namak (black salt) for extra eggy flavour. However, the omelettes are delicious with Himalayan salt as well. Make sure you’re buying kala namak as there’s also black salt coloured with activated charcoal, which doesn’t have any egg flavour.
  • You could use plant milk (almond milk, soy milk, oat milk etc.) or a mixture of milk and water instead of water.
  • Finally, feel free to stir into the omelette batter: sautéed yellow or red onion, red pepper and/or grated sweet potato or regular potato.
How to serve my vegan omelette:
  • Take two omelettes and eat them with simple raw salad (lettuce, radishes, celery, tomatoes, sprouts) and plain plant yogurt and/or some vegan cheese.
  • Add the omelettes to your Buddha bowls to take the place of legumes.
  • Eat as a snack with plain plant yogurt.
  • My omelettes would make a great plant-based breakfast as well.
How to store my vegan chickpea omelettes:
  • You don’t need to fry all the omelettes at once! Instead, make yourself a few and store the leftover batter in sealed container in the fridge. It’ll be good to use for 3 days.
  • Another option is to cook a bigger batch of omelettes, put parchment paper between each and keep them in freezer. Grab one and heat it up in the oven whenever you’re hungry.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The post Vegan Omelette with Sprouted Chickpeas appeared first on Nutriplanet.

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Learn how simple it is to sprout chickpeas or garbanzo beans without a sprouter for maximum health benefits and improved flavour. Use raw and cooked sprouted chickpeas in hummus, curries, stews, salads and Buddha bowls or snack on them raw.

I must admit that the first time I sprouted chickpeas was totally accidental. It happened that I left soaked and rinsed chickpeas in the sieve for a day (about 12 hours), as I didn’t have time to cook them right away. And yes, as easily as that, the sprouts emerged – without any effort or fancy equipment, i.e. sprouter or sprouting jar. From that moment on, whenever I have time, I let my chickpeas sprout before cooking.

Why soak chickpeas before cooking

You definitely need to soak the chickpeas or any other legumes and grains. The problem with dry beans is phytates and other anti-nutrients that inhibit mineral absorption and cause digestive ailments.

Soaking and sprouting activates enzymes and significantly decreases the levels of phytic acid. Therefore, by the simple soaking process you make vitamins and minerals more readily available.

Sprouted Chickpeas: How to Soak and Sprout Chickpeas - YouTube

I always soak my lentils, beans, grains, nuts and seeds before cooking/eating, because soaking and sprouting:

  • Removes or reduces phytic acid and tannins. When phytic acid gets converted into other substances, it is less likely to bind together with other nutrients and reduce their absorption.
  • May reduce the beans’ raffinose-type oligosaccharides, which in turn may result in fewer problems with flatulence.
  • Neutralizes toxins in the colon as well as enzyme inhibitors.
  • Encourages the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • Makes the amino acids (proteins) more readily available.
  • Increases the amounts of vitamins, especially A, C and B vitamins.
  • Reduces the cooking time, which means less loss of water-soluble nutrients due to reduced time of exposure to heat and water.

You could even go further and sprout the chickpeas before cooking as sprouting reduces the glycemic load even further (carbohydrates diminish and the content of protein and soluble fibre increases).

Dry, sprouted and cooked chickpeas. How to Soak Chickpeas
Directions
  1. First, spread the chickpeas out to remove small stones, debris or damaged beans. Then, rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.
  2. Next, place the chickpeas in a glass bowl and soak in filtered water for 8-12 hours (min 4 hours). The amount of water depends on the volume of the chickpeas. Make sure there is enough water as chickpeas expand to over double their size. If you can, change the water 2 times. Some sources recommend putting the bowl into fridge when soaking longer than 6 hours, but I have always ignored that unless it’s very hot inside.
  3. Optionally, add an acidic medium (1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice per each cup of dry chickpeas) to soaking water to mimic soil’s acidity. Also to decrease the content of the raffinose family of sugars even further, add baking soda to the soak water (about 1/16 teaspoon per quart/litre).
  4. Finally, drain the soaking liquid, and then rinse them with clean water. Now, cook them or continue with sprouting process (both explained below).

How to Quick Soak Chickpeas

If you don’t plan to sprout the chickpeas, you may also quick soak them. Here’s what you should do:

  1. First, add chickpeas to a saucepan along with water and boil them for 5 minutes.
  2. Then, turn off the heat and let them soak for 1-2 hours at which point they’d be ready to be cooked.
How to Sprout Chickpeas
Directions
  1. Start by soaking the chickpeas for 8-12 hours as per instructions above.
  2. Rinse and drain the soaked chickpeas and leave them in the sieve over a bigger bowl. Cover with clean cloth. Spread them out as much as you can to let the air flowing and prevent mould developing.
  3. Stir as well as rinse and drain the chickpeas several times daily until visible sprouts (that look like white tails) emerge from the chickpeas. It’ll take about 12 hours.
  4. When the sprouts have grown into desired length, store them in sealed container in fridge for later use.

How to Cook Sprouted Chickpeas
Directions
  1. If you’re cooking soaked and not sprouted chickpeas, skim off any skins that floated to the surface while soaking, drain the soaking liquid and then rinse them with clean water.
  2. Next, for extra flavour and better digestibility, add a bay leaf and a small piece of kombu seaweed on the bottom of a saucepan. That’s totally optional, but I strongly suggest doing the bay leaf at least. For maximum flavour and benefits, make sure you use organic bay leaf that is intact. I’ve also tried using the conventional bay leaves and found that the difference (in terms of flavour) is incomparable.
  3. Then, pour in the sprouted chickpeas (or soaked) and add filtered water. The liquid should be about 5 cm (2 inches) above the top of the garbanzo beans. If you want your chickpeas to become extra mushy, add a bit of baking soda to boiling water
  4. Bring them to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Skim off the foam that develops in the first 10-15 minutes. I prefer to leave the chickpeas simmer without lid to avoid the water to boil over. The chickpeas will be tender in 1-1.5 hours. If the chickpeas are still hard, extend the cooking time. Should too much water evaporate, boil some more in the kettle and pour into the pot.

Read about cautions with kombu seaweed from my Lentil Loaf post.

Nutritional info of sprouted chickpeas (100g, 3.5oz): 178 kcal, 24g carbohydrates (62.5% of kcal), 4g fats (18.9% of kcal), 10g of protein (26.8% of kcal), 3g fibre, and 8mg sodium.

Add kombu seaweed for extra mineral boost and to ease the digestion. Benefits of sprouted chickpeas

Like all other legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, also chickpeas contain enzyme inhibitors that interrupt with vitamin and mineral absorption and cause digestive ailments. Therefore, at least soaking is required to make them more digestible.

Sprouting however, takes you to a completely new level as sprouts use the starches to grow, hence decreasing the glycemic load of chickpeas or any other legume or grain. Hence, sprouting process is beneficial for anyone struggling with Candida overgrowth or blood sugar fluctuations.

Chickpeas are rich in certain minerals and macronutrients. Namely, they are:

  • excellent source of molybdenum,
  • very good source of manganese, folate, and copper;
  • good source of fibre, phosphorus, protein, iron and zinc.

The fibre in chickpeas is mostly insoluble and it converts into short chain fatty acids in the large intestine providing support for digestive tract.

Uses of raw and cooked sprouted chickpeas
  • They make an excellent protein-rich snack, both raw and cooked.
  • Raw sprouted chickpeas can be blended into delicious raw hummus with tahini, black pepper, some Himalayan salt and spices/herbs. The same can be done with cooked chickpeas.
  • Add raw or cooked sprouted chickpeas to salads, Buddha bowls, soups, stews, stir-fries.
  • Use cooked sprouted chickpeas in any recipes that call for cooked chickpeas. For example, Vegan Egg Salad, Baked Chickpea Falafel and Chickpea Curry.
  • Make my Vegan Omelette with raw sprouted chickpeas.

Sources:
Nutritionfacts.org
WHFoods

The post Guide to Sprouted Chickpeas: How to Soak, Sprout and Cook Chickpeas appeared first on Nutriplanet.

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